Mobilizing the enterprise
Extended Systems, iAnywhere, and Intellisync keep users connected to the enterprise
The applications and infrastructure necessary to build a managed mobile enterprise have rapidly matured. Two such products — Extended Systems OneBridge Mobile Solutions Platform and Intellisync’s Mobile Suite — intrinsically push corporate e-mail and PIM (personal information manager) information to virtually any wired or wireless handheld device. And that’s where many enterprises kick off their mobile strategy.
But systems management, another strength of both these well-designed sets, is where companies will want to start. These products’ capability of standardizing setup, taking inventory, and securing devices can lower expenses.
iAnywhere Solutions M-Business Anywhere concentrates on channeling corporate intranet information to mobile workers. In fact, it’s the easiest and most cost-effective platform for development because forms and pages presented on handhelds are Web-based. As such, you can reclaim much of your existing Web app work. However, M-Business Anywhere doesn’t provide built-in e-mail and PIM synchronization, and its systems management is modest.
In the latter stages of a mobile rollout, executives must focus on integration with existing enterprise applications. Here, each product takes a different approach. M-Business Anywhere integrates with the company’s SQL Anywhere Studio for large-scale deployments of mobile database applications. OneBridge allows fast integration with SFA and CRM systems. Intellisync’s toolkit makes it relatively easy to embed synchronization capabilities in existing apps.
OneBridgeMobile Solutions Platform
At the hub of OneBridge Mobile Solutions Platform is its Sync Server, which connects users to Lotus Domino and Microsoft Exchange servers and database servers. Through a small client application, mobile devices can then be synced with the enterprise back end over practically any connection.
Setting up the OneBridge Sync Server is neither difficult nor time-consuming. Site wizards help you configure the various adapters that link to groupware and database servers.
From an IT manager perspective, OneBridge adequately streamlined the daily work required to support mobile workers. Its central administration console enabled me to manage settings for Palms, Pocket PCs, and smartphones. For example, I created groups that determined which data was synchronized for each user or device. Moreover, OneBridge Mobile Groupware includes strong device management, both in terms of asset tracking and security. This solution inventories the software and hardware on each device and allows you to create backup and restore points and to establish power-on passwords to prevent unauthorized device use.
The client deployment wizard proved to be an excellent starting point for a trouble-free end-user experience. Because administrators are able to preconfigure settings such as server name, there are fewer steps for users to perform — and thus less chance of error.
Likewise from an end-user perspective, OneBridge proved effective in everyday use. Live Connect immediately pushed Outlook e-mail messages to a wireless T-Mobile Pocket PC Phone Edition without the need to initiate synchronization.
To dig deeper, I added the OneBridge Mobile Data Suite, which allowed me to connect my wireless Treo 600 to a SQL Server 2000 database. Configuring the database adapter was easy because it uses standard ADO (ActiveX Data Objects) connection methods. The mobile apps that interact with the database, however, must be custom-made.